A Bipartisan Bill Aims to Solve the Government’s Cybersecurity Problem

March 18, 2019

During the 2013 government shutdown, a cyber-attack occurred when Chinese hackers breached the Federal Election Commission’s computer network. The hackers crashed computer systems that disclose how billions of dollars are raised and spent each election cycle by candidates, parties and political action committees.

To prevent events like the one in 2013 from ever happening again, a bipartisan bill was introduced that would create an exchange program between the federal government and private firms. This program aims to bring more expertise on the subject of cybersecurity to the federal workforce. The bill was drafted by Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune on Monday, Feb. 11.

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Hackathons and Cybersecurity Competitions Showing Promise to Battle Data Breach Epidemic Sweeping the World

March 15, 2019

On Jan. 22, 2019, the personal information of 45,000 patients at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago was breached. Names, addresses, social security numbers and other records were disclosed to a foreign party, with the hospital scrambling to find answers.

According to the Chicago Tribune, affected patients were immediately notified by email, and later offered a free, one-year service to an identity protection service. The situation was quickly contained, but the damage done to patients and the reputation of Rush University is irreversible.

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AI vs. ML

March 13, 2019

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are hot topics in the world of cybersecurity today. As technological literacy becomes more common and people begin to rely on the technological domains of the 21st century, cybersecurity becomes increasingly important.

However, the debate over the best way to fight cyber crime starts with understanding both Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This includes their implementation and the impacts they have in the cybersecurity world.

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#YourDataYourWay: How four California legislators plan to improve privacy for Californians

March 12, 2019

"Alexa, stop listening to us!"

At least, that's what Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), assemblymember for California's 35th district, is trying to accomplish with his new bill. Cunningham introduced the "Future of Eavesdropping" Act on Feb. 27 to prevent smart speakers from mining and storing voice data.

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How to safeguard your Nest Cam against hackers

March 12, 2019

Imagine you are cooking dinner in your kitchen. It's a peaceful Sunday evening and your family is watching a football game in the living room. You move to join them when, all of a sudden, a siren starts sounding from your Nest Cam, followed by a detailed warning of North Korean missiles headed towards the United States. Your family panics, but you are confused because the football game continues playing like normal. You switch to several news channels and there is no talk of the warning.

Your family makes several calls to 911 and Nest. You learn the warning was a hoax. Your home fell victim to a hacker.


FaceTime had a major security bug with receiving calls. So, how private is our audio?

March 12, 2019

Johnny Hartman saw the rumors swirling around the internet.

The claim: People can use Apple's Group FaceTime function to overhear another person without them needing to answer or decline the call. And for Hartman, these rumors had begun appearing on his social media feeds.

The best way to prove or debunk an internet rumor, he figured, is to do it yourself.

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Companies hire “good guy” hackers to halt destructive hacking

February 21, 2019

Samuel Curry is hunched over the computer in his bedroom in his parents’ house in Omaha, Nebraska. The sun is shining outside as he starts his work day with the rest of the world around 8 a.m. His tasks vary each today, but right now he is trying to hack into Yahoo’s small business platform, and he hits a breakthrough. Using a fake username and a lost-password request, he gets access to someone's account. Pretty soon, he realizes he can use this trick to access anyone's account.

"The moment where you're able to actually actualize the security vulnerability,” said Curry, 19, “it's a pretty massive rush and makes everything worth it.”

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Inside Cisco TacOps: Restoring Communication after Disasters

February 7, 2019

When natural disasters and other crises strike, survivors can be left without access to critical food, water, and medical attention. In times like these, its inspiring to see emergency response teams doing whatever it takes to provide practical aid to those in need. In the midst of an emergency, critical communication is often cut off and data is left vulnerable to malicious cyber threats. Cisco Tactical Operations (TacOps) and Disaster Incident Response Team (DIRT) restore communication in disaster areas to help mobilize relief efforts.

For our first podcast episode, the California Cybersecurity Institute interviewed Ron Snyder, a Solutions Architect for Cisco. Snyder has responded to multiple disasters as a part of Cisco TacOps including Hurricane Maria in 2017 which destroyed the power grid in Puerto Rico.

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California's New IoT Law

December 13, 2018

Dee Margolis was satisfied with her ADT home security system, an added safety measure to the gates of her community. However, after a home invasion in her Calabasas community, she and four neighbors decided to upgrade their security. Margolis purchased a Ring Video Doorbell system through ADT.

The Ring system records a clip of the front door each time the doorbell is rung. With the Ring mobile app on their phone, users can check who’s at the door and speak to them whether they are home or not.

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Implementing Cybersecurity in the Classroom (Student Blog)

December 4, 2018

Huddled around a computer, Ben Martin and his teammates were trying to figure out a way to add the numbers together of every square in a 10,000 x 10,000 matrix.

"We found that even with all the optimizations and the best machine we had, our brute force method was going to literally take years based on some of our estimates," said Martin, a San Luis Obispo High School student.

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The Career You Haven't Considered (Student Blog)

September 25, 2018

What are you going to do after you graduate? We dread this question—the idea of post-grad plans is terrifying, and we all know how hard it is to get a job. But there’s one field you probably haven’t considered even though there were over one million unfilled positions last year. Cybersecurity. 

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High school students compete in a statewide cybersecurity competition

August 7, 2018

Capture the Flag, or CTF, functions a lot like “Jeopardy,” except that it involves reverse engineering an algorithm through a series of puzzles, rather than answering a series of inverse questions. Also, winning entails gaining access to a file or internet server, or ‘capturing the flag,’ instead of receiving a large cash prize.

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